Instagram is the second most popular social network worldwide. Many companies are showing strong interest in the photo-sharing platform which allows them to publish authentic content. However, some brands are struggling with an appropriate representation on Instagram and experience difficulties when it comes to reaching their target group. Just like on any other social network, you cannot build a strong and interactive community overnight. Usually it will take time to find loyal followers. The following tips are going to show you how to develop a large and active community.
#1 Promote your Instagram Account
User can only follow you if they know you are on Instagram. Make sure that people are aware of your company account and promote it through various other channels:
- Tell your customers about your Instagram account
- Share your profile on other social networks
- Integrate your Instagram account into offline advertising material, such as flyers
- Include the URL for your account in your e-mail signature
- Refer to your account in your newsletter by using a link
Using these methods will allow you to call attention to your account continuously and generate new followers. Especially in the beginning of your Instagram-account it is important to be present, so make sure to incorporate these tips.
#2 Use Hashtags
One cannot picture Instagram without hashtags anymore. They improve your content’s findability and automatically categorize it. The usage of hashtags makes it easier for your target group to find you on Instagram. They can either search for hashtags directly connected to your brand or product or they will be able to encounter your content when they search for hashtags generally. We advise you to use 3 or 4 hashtags in the captions. Try to emphasize your main message with these hashtags. Still, do not refer to Instagram’s most popular hashtags but use those hashtags that are most popular in your industry.
An important and powerful kind of hashtag is the so-called branded hashtag. It is directly connected to your company and can either be your company’s name, your slogan or a hashtag you specifically design for Instagram. Basically, the branded hashtag will serve as a sub-genre of your content. Make sure to use your own branded hashtag continuously when publishing content. Additionally, you can integrate the branded hashtag in your bio. This way you ensure that your followers are aware of the hashtag which will result in a higher probability of them using it, too.
#3 Content is King
Most likely, Instagram will not be the only social network you are active on. Make sure it is worthwhile for your followers to follow your Instagram account. To achieve this, produce content solely for Instagram instead of just re-publishing content that was designed for your other social media platforms. Exclusive content will enable the growth of an interactive community. Be sure to structure your account clearly. This way, your followers will know what kind of content to expect. Nevertheless, you should mix it up regularly so your account is not perceived as boring.
Instagram Stories are an opportunity for you to share behind-the-scenes content and personalize your brand. Content you share here does not need to be perfectly edited as the content will be deleted after 24 hours anyway. It is alright to use quick snapshots that is not professional photography, Instagram Stories are supposed to be authentic and real. Still, decide what kind of content you want to publish through your Instagram stories beforehand, to make you operate in a structured manner.
Additionally, special announcements like discounts or the launch of a new product are always worth a post. This way your followers and (potential) customers are informed and will therefore feel like it is worthwhile to follow your account. Other possible kinds of content are production processes, showing ways how to use or combine your product and inspirations for a lifestyle that revolves around the product.
Furthermore, User-generated should always be included in your account. This way your followers and customers will feel heard and important, resulting in a stronger brand loyalty. User-generated content is also a great way of incorporating authentic and individual content into your account. Make sure to give credit to your users to engage with them and grow into a large, interactive community.
#4 Follow Other Accounts
You have just started using Instagram? Your brand is not as famous yet? Then don’t expect to gain many followers without following anyone yourself. Social networks like Instagram are based on communication. Especially at the beginning of your account it is therefore of great importance to follow others. Instagram will show you the posts that the ones you follow have liked. This way you will find new interesting pages that are most likely connected to topics that are of relevance to you. Important note: do not just follow an account, wait for them to follow back and then stop following them – this is fairly rude and is not the point of a social network. Grow a solid network that is actually interested in your content.
#5 Engage with the Community
As mentioned before, Instagram is a social network. Interact with the community, like pictures and comment them. If you come across relevant content, repost it on your account to strengthen the connection with your followers. When users comment on your pictures, reply or thank them (@username). Try to start interesting conversations.
The frequency of your posts is also of importance. Try to incorporate current issues or changes. Posting rarely will lead to your followers forgetting about your account and they might stop following you. Try to share content multiple times a week, if possible. The more often you share pictures and use hashtags, the more you followers will interact.